2009 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1148305 94 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* Smith-Madrone tends to fly under the radar for Napa Valley Cabernet, but discerning palates understand its place in the pantheon. Vintages aren’t always kind to this mountain fruit, but in 2009, the conditions were just right to produce a wine of immaculate structure. It has firm tannins and brisk acidity, and the flavors are classic, suggesting blackberries and cassis. As delicious as it is now, this will have no problem aging 10-15 years.  (1/2014)

K&L Notes

A testament to Smith-Madrone's sweet spot at 1,800 feet above the Napa Valley, facing east, Cabernet Sauvignon is grown here as well as their famous Riesling. Stu Smith is stalwart advocate of dry farming, which he applies to these 37-year-old vines atop Spring Mountain; not so much, of "biodynamic" practices. This Cabernet is the product of some of Napa Valley's true individualists, producing a distinctive product of place, with a studied disregard for the fashions of the moment. From the winery: "Wonderfully complicated and intense aromas of cassis, blueberry and black cherry characterize our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. The aromatics lead straight into a beautiful demonstration of just how much fun an old-fashioned, low alcohol wine (13.9%) can be. The signature of this wine is the lively and oh-so-flavorful fruit in the middle followed by a crisp juicy finish of unusual length."

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Price: $44.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
The first time I tasted the 2009 Smith-Madrone Cabernet was at the annual Family Winemakers tasting last Fall in San Francisco. I always go to their table knowing exactly what I’m going into, or at least so I thought. Riesling-check, Chard-check, Cabernet-che…whaaaaaaaat? Talk about a head turner, this was something completely different from one of my favorite Cabernet producers in Napa. Sure the wine was made the same: mountain fruit, 100% new American oak but the outcome was something that I never expected. The 2009 vintage in all its ripe glory produced a crowd friendly, fruit forward wine from a place that I didn’t even know could do such a thing. But the truly great thing about this Cab is that it did it without sacrificing its soul. There are so many homogenous wines in Napa right now that I was worried for a quick second that one of the classic stalwarts went to the dark side. But as I paid more attention to this wine I realized it still had its foundation of Spring Mountain tannins, mint/camphor spice, earthy/mushroom-y/olive-y undercurrent, and the signature dill/marshmallow tones from the American oak. It just has so much more ripe boysenberry/current fruit over the top of it that its almost hard not to drink this wine right away while still knowing that it will easily be happy in a cellar for the next 10-15 years. Kudos to you Brothers Smith for making what could be the best Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve ever had!

Additional Information:


Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.9